Tales of Customer Service; Forster-Gill Fades away

CUSTOMER CARE- There was a time, not so long ago, when the Chamber and other business leaders here became alarmed at the lackluster customer service and welcoming skills demonstrated by our retail and restaurant employees- the most critical workers in a tourist economy Well, I am pleased to report that  anecdotally at least, the customer service bar seems to have been raised and I have been showered with customer care of the highest order just in the past week, and largely from businesses  I had never dealt with until recently. To wit:

My iMac started telling me it could not complete its backups and was also unstable in other ways. I hadn’t had it worked on since before the demise of Capital Business Machines, so I called Cornerstone Computers in Henderson Center, largely because they were willing to make a house call.  They fixed it in an hour, but then the next day it started having power problems, so I ended up taking it back in. Of course, as soon as it got to their store it started working perfectly. They ran some tests, kept it on for 3-4 hours to make sure it wasn’t overheating, then I took it home and now everytime I turn it on it performs better. They didn’t charge me for the in-shop work.  They have made a new friend and I will be using them again in the near future to undo some of the CBM work that seemed like a good idea at the time.

I stopped by Mike’s DriveUp for an LA/Tommy’s style cheeseburger and a shake. It was supposed to be a chocolate shake but only tasted of vanilla. The next time I went in, I explained the problem and asked if they could put more chocolate syrup in the shake this time. They not only did so but refused to charge me for my new shake. Now,  I always cringe a little bit at their political literature on the counter- politically they seem to be to the right of Louis IV and I’m a lifelong Democrat- but I can see how hard they work and how they came to their point of view. They are NFIB members and the kind of salt-of-the -earth people who made this country great.   They want to put up Obama cartoons, let’em. I will gleefully boycott certain establishments (Walmart, Safeway) but Mike’s had me at “Chili with that?” I’ll be back, you  bet.  (No website, phone 707-442-4755).

Also last week I slammed the driver’s side door of my Cruiser on the seat belt in such a way that it jammed and I couldn’t open the door. I called AAA and was told they couldn’t help me because “you can turn the engine over.” Well, yeah, I could turn the ignition but you can’t steer a car from the passenger seat, or if you can, I’d like to meet you. I called  Lithia, where Robert reassured me that a fellow named Bob at Humboldt Lock and Safe (no website, phone 707-445-4865) would fix me up without us having to tow the car. (This happened when I was trying to take the iMac from the first story above, back to Henderson Center.) Anyway, Bob got down on the concrete floor and went through numerous and demanding procedures; I never saw anyone work so hard in my life. He got the door open in an hour and advised me to appeal  my bill to AAA, which I am in the process of doing.  Humboldt Lock gets good grades for customer service. Let’s see how AAA does. 

Finally, a couple of years ago I had a new furnace installed through the PG&E Energy Partners program, which replaces old appliances with energy-efficient ones. Recently, the thermostat stopped working.  I made a few calls to the program, whose hotline was staffed with people who knew very little, then finally I called the contractor who had installed the furnace, Evans Mechanical.  Within four days I had a new thermostat. Service was superb.  Enough said.

Do you have any customer service heroes or heroines who deserve recognition? Tell us about them!

FORSTER-GILL FADES AWAY – Cutten breathed a collective sigh of relief last week when County planning staff confirmed that the ill-conceived “second city” development has been relegated to the inactive file. There is still a nuisance lawsuit filed by F-G in the system,  but all in all it appears the intense opposition from the residents and the concerns of the Eureka City Council over adding retail space to a town with many many retail vacancies carried the day. I couldn’t agree more. Let’s fill the empty storefronts downtown and in Henderson Center before initiating a sprawl south of town. 

Happy Official Summer!  It’s been a long time coming.





6 thoughts on “Tales of Customer Service; Forster-Gill Fades away

  1. Evans Mechanical? Yeah they’re nice, but they are not that good. We bought a new furnace for a rental – they hyped up the PG&E rebates and it took them almost all year to send me the paperwork to collect the rebate. They’ve had to return several times to get the furnace to work….

    • Oh Boy. They DID have to send their guys out three times to get the furnace right when it was installed but I was expecting clear sailing from here. The guys they sent then looked like they were too young to work. Fingers crossed. But they DID respond quickly!

  2. Thanks for your thoughtful comment. That’s awful about Suddenlink. I would love to see a local website (OTHER than rants’n’raves on Craig’s List) where folks could share these stories. Kind of like a local Angie’s List. Anyone? ” If more people stopped buying from customer no-service businesses what would happen?” should be a bumper sticker.

  3. Yes, customer Service at times seems to be a disappearing art. I have received excellent service from SuddenLink tech support until yesterday. I am informed their technicians cannot come to your door and inform you that they will be working on your service unless it is a late payment situation. They disconnected my cable in the middle of a phone call. The work order said disconnect the cable TV service not the bundled phone and internet service. After many calls on my cell phone the technician was sent back to restore the service we wanted to keep. all of this could have been avoided, (an extra trip for the technician) if the person had knocked on my door and talked to me. This is the most non-customer service and inefficient policy I have encountered.
    We have had cell service through T-Mobile, recently we lost coverage in areas where we needed to use AT&T towers. Thankfully the CEO of T-Mobile had someone address our concerns and released us from our contract to find another carrier. I selected coverage with Ting Mobile, who uses the Sprint network. It is a pay as you go program. Their customer service is first class. Call their tech line, and you immediately reach a person, I mean after the first ring, no phone tree no waiting. I receive follow-up email messages with my requests and someone even phoned me back with an answer.
    Locally Styles By the Bay replaced a part on a chair we didn’t even purchase from them for free, and gave us the proper tool to attach it. Downtown Express Café always has excellent fresh prepared food and friendly service. There are a few businesses providing customer service, and many companies who need to learn from the few good ones. Whenever possible I let my dollars speak, and shop at locations that treat me well. If more people stopped buying from customer no-service businesses what would happen?

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